I probably had the idea when commencing my practice that it would all be about assisting our clients achieve their financial objectives, how wrong I was. This is a people caring business, the financial strategies forming only a component of the journey we have with each client.

Whether it is the family’ story; woven into the estate plans, the need to financially support one or more children, the pain and sometimes shame that comes with relationship breakdown and much more, the Adviser needs to listen, adjust and where possible provide much needed support.

I feel very confronted at the moment, the escalating number of clients in retirement (or in more than one instance not yet retired) who are suffering from Alzheimer’s. The very real fear felt by family members as they begin to recognise the loss of every day words the lack of cognitive function. The adviser, as they sit regularly with their client, also recognises these symptoms and must make a judgement call on whether the much-loved client has the capacity to participate in the decisions making around their own financial affairs.

Alzheimer’s accounts for 60%-80% of all cases of dementia, and the occurrence is increasing. Dementia affects about 10% of those aged over 65 with 20%of those over 80 suffering from severe dementia.

So, when someone aged only 62 is diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s, it is confronting and so hard to watch from the sidelines, for the family member I can only be a sympathetic ear and hope that I can to reduce the burden. The feeling of abandonment as a family member is placed into care is strong and can’t be put aside, the breaking up of a family unit causes ill health and anxiety for those family members who had to make the difficult decisions; the advisers’ role not only that of providing financial and lifestyle strategies, but of providing emotional support, the latter being vital at this point in our client’s lives.

Understanding this helps me with the many meetings the family requires, in what can be a protracted journey between diagnosis, and the final decision that additional care is needed. Today fortunately, we have an accredited expert in-house and this is proving to be an important service offering for our clients.

I am finding it difficult to set aside what my clients are experiencing so that I can focus on the business side of being a practitioner.  I still need to focus on those other important needs of my business; the need to grow my business, to deliver on time to new clients and to watch over investment portfolios of existing clients. I realise I need to do both, the business side of my brain and the empathetic side both have an equal role to play.

 

Eleanor Dartnall (AR 285743), & Focus Wealth Advisers Pty Ltd (AR 299568) are Authorised Representatives of Magnitude Group Pty Ltd • ABN 54 086 266 202 • AFSL 221557 • 

General Advice Disclaimer: This information is of a general nature only and has been provided without taking account of your objectives, financial situation or needs. Because of this, you should consider whether the information is appropriate in light of your particular objectives, financial situation and needs.